Coconut oil and its (many) uses

You may already know a lot about coconut oil for health and beauty uses; it has certainly been raved about over the last few years! I have been using coconut oil intermittently for the past year or so and having just bought a new pot, I thought it might be nice to share some of my tips with you.

Choosing your coconut oil

Look out for virgin, organic coconut oil. This is the best type of coconut oil to use for beauty purposes; I used a non-organic product as a hair conditioner a few years ago and could not rinse it out! After about 7 consecutive, frustrating shampoos, my hair was back to normal. I’ve never experienced this problem when using organic products and can highly recommend Vita Coco Coconut Oil (£5.99 for 250ml tub) and Aldi Coco Loco Coconut Oil (£2.99 for 300ml tub).

Why is it solid?

Cold pressed coconut oil is solid, when stored below 76 degrees fahrenheit. To liquify it, gently heat in a clean bowl over another bowl of boiling water or (for the more patient of us) massage a small amount between your hands.

Coconut oil for cooking

I haven’t cooked with coconut oil extensively but I can highly recommend it for use in vegetable stir fry dishes! I believe it can also be added to coffee but admittedly, I’m not brave enough to try that out. It lends a gentle coconut taste, without being overwhelming, and consuming it in food is a great way to absorb its nutrients. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which converts to monolaurin when consumed; a powerful antiviral substance for the body. It also has strong antibacterial properties.

Coconut oil as a hair mask

Quite simply, this is the best and most cost-effective treatment I use on my hair. I’ve really missed my weekly hair masks, since I lost my previous tub of oil and kept forgetting to replace it. I gently heat about a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and when liquified, apply generously to the mid-lengths to ends of my hair. Your hair shouldn’t be dripping in oil but it should look sufficiently coated! I then wrap my hair in a plastic bag turban (yes, really) to protect my clothing and contain the natural heat from my scalp, to intensify the mask’s effects. It can be left for an hour or two, or even overnight; remember to protect your pillowcases if you do this! Rinse carefully with shampoo and take your time to make sure the oil is completely rinsed; I take about  5 minutes to do this and usually follow with a second shampoo. For incredibly silky hair, follow with your usual conditioner, before rinsing and styling. I find that using coconut oil on my hair once a week keeps it in good condition but it can be used every other day once in a while, if your hair needs extra hydration.

Coconut oil for skincare

As I have combination skin, I have to be quite discerning about the skincare I use. At first, I assumed an oil would just give me a breakout but as coconut oil is so natural, it acts as an excellent facial moisturiser. I would particularly advise massaging a small amount into dry areas of the face (in my case, my cheeks) for optimal results. I also made my own eye cream last year, from this fantastic recipe, and plan on making another batch soon! This is a great idea for sensitive skin, as there are only two (natural) ingredients.

Do you use coconut oil? What do you think of it? I would love to hear some more cooking tips for coconut oil, my experience of using it in the kitchen is limited at the moment!

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